Friday, August 31, 2007

Iowa Marriage Laws

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Room change!

We will be meeting in Fondren 412 next Wednesday.

For 9/5: What We're Reading.

For the first week's assigned reading, we're looking at two different perspectives on marriage to ground ourselves in the different ways historians approach the topic.

Women's historian Nancy Cott's book Public Vows examines the social and religious bases of marriage, but she also wants to see how political discourse and marriage collide in American history. Her book is also a synthesis history, bringing together a lot of historical work rather than rooting through primary sources. The first two chapters look at marriage in the colonial and revolutionary eras, and on the many different marital regimes during the early republic.

Hendrik Hertog, on the other hand, comes to marriage as a legal historian, and he is interested in how legal cultures, the informal rules of communities, and individuals negotiated the terms of marriage. His book relies much more on a close reading of particular court cases, usually addressing separations and divorces. His first chapter introduces his approach to legal history and marriage, and locates his own take on marriage in the historiography. His second chapter does a close reading of a divorce case in New England in the late 1700s.